Chapter 2 : Hogwarts? No longer safe?
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Chapter 2: Hogwarts? No longer safe?
“You’re late,” Lily Evans said irritably, turning to see who was coming through the door.
Seeing who it was, she sighed. Potter. How predictable. But Lupin late, too? Wow. I actually thought better than that of him.
“Er. Yeah. Sorry. Remus here got hit by a Memory Modifier…we’ve been trying to get him back to normal, but he’s still a bit loopy,” James said quickly, dragging Remus Lupin behind him. He couldn’t help but look a little longer at Lily than normal- she was beautiful naturally, but somehow, she looked even more fantastic than she had when school had let out. She looked happier, healthier...hotter¸ James mentally added.
“Ah,” Lily said quickly, knowing better than to ask questions about the Marauders, at least in front of impressionable young students. “Well, everyone, here’s the new Head Boy!”
“Erhm. Which one?” Jeremy Pruitt, a seventh year Hufflepuff Prefect, asked, completely confused by this point.
James opened his mouth to answer, but Lily got there first.
“Why, Lupin, of course… I don’t think Dumbledore’s quite that nutty yet, Jeremy,” Lily said calmly.
“Actually, apparently he is, because I’m the Head Boy, Jeremy,” James spat out irritably, taking the badge out of the pocket of his robes as he spoke.
Lily’s eyes widened. “You have got to be joking.”
“Sadly, no. I know you’re excited about working with me all year, Lil, but there’s no need to go and get speechless on me.”
She opened and closed her mouth a few times looking like there certainly were a few choice words she would like to say to him, but suddenly seemed to remember that the rest of the Prefects were there. “You all may go back to your compartments and change,” she said stiffly. “The first meeting is two weeks into the term; we will post the details in your respective Common Rooms. Good day.”
Most of them hurried out, eager to get back to their friends, but there were a few that lingered, wondering what would happen between tardy, insubordinate James and an extremely buggered-off Lily.
“She said go!” James growled, acknowledging the stragglers.
When the room was clear, Lily shut the door. Now they were alone, aside from Remus- who had now taken to asking himself questions about ‘why the floor felt like it was moving’ and ‘where exactly he might be’…and for that matter, ‘what was his name again’?
Not going to yell. Trying not to…lose…temper… Lily thought irritably, trying to calm herself down. However, it was ineffective.
“Where have you been?” she demanded.
“I told you. Lupin is loopy. Memory Modifier,” James summed up simply, standing so he slightly towered over her. When in doubt, use intimidation.
The tactic worked slightly, and Lily back away a few paces. “But how did he end up getting his memory modified?”
“Erhm. Slytherins. Yeah. Came in and hexed us. Lupin got caught in the crossfire.”
Lily’s emerald eyes rolled in perfect sync with the crossing of her arms over her chest. “Like I’m really going to believe that, Potter.”
“Well, sucks for you because it’s the truth.”
“Of course it isn’t. If you and the Slytherins really had gotten in a skirmish, you would’ve used harsher stuff than Memory Modifiers. I should know your style by now, haven’t you noticed that I’m the one deducting the points?” Lily finished haughtily, raising her arms even higher on her chest. James could tell from her eyes, however, that she wasn’t angry.
Not wanting to irritate her further, James decided to change the subject. Blushing slightly and running his hand through his hair nervously, he asked, “Do you know how to fix it? Remus was the only one that knew how and he’s…well…”
They both turned to see Remus attempting the solo Sugar Plum Fairy dance from The Nutcracker. Badly attempting.
Lily’s eyebrows rose. James Potter may be an irresponsible idiot sometimes, and she knew there was more to Remus’ current state than he was going to tell her, but Remus was her friend. And he was truly a horrid dancer. He might hurt himself if she didn’t stop him.
“Yeah, I’ll help you. Help me get him to sit down and we’ll fix him up,” Lily said with a small smile after a few moments’ silence.
James smiled gratefully (and a little nervously) in return. Making eye contact with her, he found himself adding, “You look really nice, by the way.”
“Gimme another pumpkin pasty,” Lily grumbled miserably to Eduina, trying to get her robes to fasten correctly.
After setting Remus right, she and James had parted ways so they could change into their robes. James went back to the Marauders’ compartment with Remus while Lily searched the train for Eduina.
When she finally found her friend, Lily realized what a truly volatile mood she was in. She was very frustrated.
“It’s going to be such a long year,” she whined through mouthfuls of crumbling pumpkin pasty.
“Have I ever told you you’re a nervous eater, Lil?” Eduina asked, smiling.
Lily scoffed in response. “Nervous eater? Edie, I’m an eater, period. I wasn’t nervous this summer when I packed on all this extra weight…which my sister saw fit to remind me of several times during the fitting from hell yesterday.”
Eduina’s face cast over darkly at the mention of Petunia. “Pay her no attention. We could practically see your ribs before. She’s jealous because she has no curves at all. I think you look more beautiful than ever, and I’m sure Potter would agree.”
Lily’s nose twitched with amusement. “Actually, he did just that. Merlin. That boy is something else. I mean, you’d think he’d have realized that playing catch with a Snitch is not a turn-on for the entire female population by now. And so immature, always playing those bloody ridiculous pranks on Snape…”
“You had better, for the sake of my Gryffindor pride at least, not be defending Slytherin scum again,” Eduina interrupted irritably.
“Not defending…I just think that nobody deserves getting pranked by those retards. It’s an insult to one’s intelligence to get done in by the Marauders, in addition to whatever physical and psychological damage that their prank does to you.”
“Maybe if you stopped being so uptight about the rules that they’re breaking, you would appreciate their creativity a bit more,” Eduina said critically, as only a best friend can.
Normal people would get murderous looks and loathing from Lily Evans for a statement like that, but Eduina - nope, she just stated it clear as day.
“I appreciate their creativity, believe me. Sometimes it’s hell
turning them in because I can’t even trace the prank,” Lily said with admiration. “Of course, I would never tell them this to their faces because Merlin knows their egos are large enough already. And you know I don’t want to be uptight, Edie…it’s just really hard, being the only Gryffindor prefect to keep things remotely stable. Remus never keeps them under control; it’s always fallen to me. I am right tired of cleaning up after them, though,” she finished exasperatedly.
Eduina’s hazel eyes sparkled as she met Lily’s emerald ones. “Maybe you should stop trying, then.”
Lily smiled in return. “It’s definitely a thought.”
She could get used to this, Lily thought simply, lifting her goblet of pumpkin juice to her lips. The feast had been in session for about forty minutes, and she had definitely noticed the Dungbombs that went off at the end of the Slytherin table, in suspiciously close proximity to a spot Sirius Black was walking by earlier. Yes, naturally she had seen Severus Snape being ushered out by Madam Pomfrey, coughing up something that looked bizarrely like bubotuber pus. But was she going to let it get to her? No. When the Dungbombs had gone off, she found herself fingering her Head Girl badge and beginning to rise from the bench. However, Eduina had quickly laid a hand on Lily’s arm, reminding her of her own promise.
Lily was going to stop trying so hard.
After all, she had already gotten the position, right? What could it hurt to cut herself a bit of slack? Lily Evans had worked tirelessly for six years to become Head Girl, the female leader of the entire population at Hogwarts. But now that she had the badge, what real goal did she have to overexert herself for? She had already proved herself as one of the most competent and intelligent witches of her year. Sure, there were NEWTs to worry about, but she wouldn’t be any more ready for those after doling out endless detentions trying to punish Potter and his gang…so why should she bother?
Lily had resolved that if the Marauders were blatant enough to pull a prank right in front of her, she would, naturally, punish them severely. She wouldn’t be worthy of her badge if she didn’t. But she was tired of seeing a prank and then wasting far too much of her time trying to prove that it was actually the Marauders who committed it. Obviously it was them, most of the professors would say admiringly, prefacing some rant about how their students use phenomenal talents in Transfiguration, Potions, and Charms to pull off these complicated feats, but could barely stay awake in their classes for more than the first five minutes. Lily usually sat through the rant, exasperatedly nodding her head at the praise for the four innovative boys, before bringing up the idea of punishment. There’s no proof, was the usual response. We all know it was them, because they are the only ones capable. But we can’t prove it.
It was a waste of her bloody time.
Most of the other Prefects couldn’t be bothered by the pranks, either. The Slytherins obviously had a thing or two to say about the fearsome foursome, but they would probably rather visit the Giant Squid than aide a Muggle-born like Lily in the indictment of the Marauders.
She didn’t know why she tried so hard to punish them. Some of their pranks were actually pretty amusing and ingenious. But then there were others…she had heard via some of the professors about Snape coming back to the school complaining of a near death experience underneath the Whomping Willow two years ago. She didn’t know how, but she was absolutely positive that the Marauders were involved. They were the only group in school that had a chance at figuring out how to get into that tree without being smacked into shreds. And since she had overheard those professors, Lily had been keeping an eye peeled. She felt sure that one of their “harmless” pranks would someday horribly backfire, and she would be the only one expecting it.
Interrupting Lily Evan’s extremely dismal train of thought, she heard a male voice clearing his throat at the end of the room. Looking up, she noticed that it was Dumbledore, ready to give his start-of-term speech. Angling her body slightly for a better view, she tried her hardest to pay attention- after all, if the Head Girl didn’t care, why should anybody else?
“Good evening, everyone!” the jovial voice boomed through the hall. “I hope you all found the feast to your liking!”
Albus Dumbledore began to twirl his graying beard through his fingers as he surveyed the room with bright, twinkling blue eyes. Satisfied at the nods of assent and affectionate belly-patting that met his vision, he carried on.
“I would like to introduce our new Herbology professor…Professor Sprout!” Dumbledore said enthusiastically, indicating that the squat woman should rise and take a curtsy.
Lily clapped loudly along with all the other students. She was thrilled their old professor had decided to retire. Professor Boxspring had suffered from narcolepsy, and often fell asleep in class while one of his students was suffering from the vicious attacks of some plant or another. Lily herself had a nasty battle with the Tentacula while her professor stood next to her, mumbling peacefully in his sleep.
Professor Sprout’s bright brown eyes shown with excitement as she nodded thankfully at the praise. Finally sitting down, Dumbledore saw fit to carry on.
“We also have a new caretaker this year. Everyone please give a round of applause for Mr. Argus Filch!”
A skinny man with lanky, grimy hair stood up stiffly from his seat at the Head Table. There was unsure silence for a moment, before Lily smiled and started clapping…if nothing else than to get everyone else to stop being rude. Lily couldn’t honestly say she liked the look of the man much at all, but he seemed fairly harmless. Indeed, Lily looked down the Gryffindor table to where the Marauders were seated, and she noticed big grins on each of the faces of the boys. Never a good sign, if you asked Lily.
“Finally,” Dumbledore resumed, “I would like to introduce our two new Head students. You all know most of the Prefects in your house, and the Prefects aide our Heads in maintaining order in this great castle of ours. But the Head Students are what really help pull this place together. Please come to the front, Lily Evans and James Potter!”
There was considerable clapping and praise when Lily was called, as she was fairly well-liked. James, on the other hand, had riotous applause and more than a few female admirers swooning as he passed them on his way to the podium. Lily also heard a few snickers from the Slytherin table- “I wonder how much order is going to be maintained this year with Heads like these? A Mudblood and a rebel. Should be pretty interesting.”
She found that despite the Mudblood comment, she couldn’t help but agree.
Standing on either side of Dumbledore, James and Lily waited patiently for the applause to die down so Dumbledore could continue.
Instead of resuming a lengthy speech, however, Dumbledore simply said, “Please follow your Prefects up to your dorms, where you will find that all of your belongings have already been laid out for you. You will get your schedules tomorrow during breakfast. Good night.”
Lily looked unsurely at the retreating figures of the students. Leading the first-years to the dorm was something she had always enjoyed in the past, and she hoped that Remus would do a good enough job with only the younger Prefects to aide him. She really wanted him to point out that funny painting of Homer Honeydukes, who if you tickled in just the right way, might find a small bar of Honeydukes chocolate to hand through to you. Or that great statue of Caroline the Courtesan on the third floor, that when provoked would sing cabaret and lead you where you needed to go.
But leading new Gryffindors isn’t really your job anymore, she thought to herself a bit sadly. You’ve got to lead the student population now…along with…wait, where did he go?
Indeed, she now noticed as she snapped from her reverie, that neither James nor Professor Dumbledore was up here. Looking down the Great Hall, she noticed that they had paused and were expectantly waiting for her by the double doors.
“Where are we going?” Lily asked, jogging the length of the hall.
“You will see, Miss Evans,” Dumbledore said, his bright blue eyes twinkling happily. “You will see.”
James exchanged a dubious look with Lily that showed that he, too, had not the slightest idea where they were headed.
Lily found herself a bit out of breath as they went up six staircases, up to a floor she didn’t even know existed. She guessed they were in the west wing of the castle, but she couldn’t be sure as the staircases had all seemed to go in a different direction. Wherever they were, she suspected they had little chance of being ambushed. She, herself, would probably never be able to remember where they had gone without a map of some sort.
Looking over at James, she noticed that he seemed slightly bewildered by their surroundings. It was as Lily suspected, this area must be new. If James Potter, ringleader of the most rule-breaking group in school, had no idea where they were…it was safe to say that only Dumbledore knew about this place.
As if reading their thoughts, Dumbledore broke the silence. “This area was built just two years ago as part of an experiment to promote the unity of the Head Students. The staff and I felt that the Heads needed a place where they would not be disturbed, to ensure that only the best dances were thrown, that the points were deducted correctly, that everything in general was going as it should be. We have seen very positive results from this, as now the records are kept in a safe place where no mislead Prefects could try to tamper with them. We also believe that this place helps to remind the Head Students that they are leading a school, four different Houses, and not just their own.”
Lily had been nodding up to this point. She had heard about this experiment in Hogwarts, a History. She didn’t know why the thought hadn’t occurred when her badge had been mailed, because she had been very fascinated with the idea.
However, the book had never effectively elaborated on what the experiment was, citing that the privacy of the experiment was essential. Lily actually found herself slightly excited at the prospect, until she heard Dumbledore speak again.
“This is where the two of you will be living for the next year,” the professor said, coming to a standstill in front of a leprechaun portrait.
James smiled at the portrait. “It’s Patty O’Flanahan…the leprechaun who single-handedly hoodwinked Gringotts! He broke into the vaults, took all the wizard gold, then replaced it with leprechaun gold! Since the vaults couldn’t tell the weight difference until the leprechaun gold faded, the Gringotts staff let him blatantly walk out. They didn’t even suspect a thing! It was the brilliant breakout of the turn of the century! He was never even caught, actually!”
James was looking at the leprechaun in what could only be described as extreme admiration. The leprechaun in the painting laughed. “Don’t believe everything they tell ya, m’dear. It wasn’t that fantastic,” he finished modestly, twirling his curly red hair around a small finger.
Lily was slightly shocked that they had a painting of a famous bank robber in the hallway, but found herself laughing slightly nonetheless. She stopped abruptly, however, when she remembered what was on the other side of the portrait. She was not going to get to live with Eduina anymore. She was going to be stuck with this git until graduation.
“Oh, yes it was, Patty! It was amazing! It was the best bit of mischief the wizarding world has ever seen! You are my idol!” James continued chattering excitedly, not noticing Lily’s quick change in attitude.
Dumbledore laughed quite loudly at James before turning to the students. “Okay, enough of that. Are you two ready to see your new home?”
Lily found herself nodding warily; meanwhile James looked rather like a bobble-head toy.
Dumbledore turned to Patty O’Flanahan and said softly, “Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus.”
Satisfied that the painting had swung open, he turned to the students. “Hogwarts motto, you know.”
“Oh, it’s a lovely password, Professor,” Lily said softly, not wanting to voice what she was really thinking.
James, however, didn’t understand the concept of keeping one’s thoughts quiet, and loudly asked, “Can’t we have something shorter?”
Dumbledore looked a bit shocked, but turned to Lily and asked, “Do you think it’s too long, too?”
Lily coughed slightly before replying, “Erhm. Well. If we were being chased, it would take longer to say the password than for the baddies to catch up to us, I suppose.”
Dumbledore seemed slightly bemused for a moment, before replying, “Okay, then. Sure, why not. Part of your jobs is to regularly change the passwords for the whole school, anyway. And no, James, you can not force the Slytherins to say profanities to enter their common rooms.”
James looked at Lily before whispering softly, “How does he do that?”
“You forget that I was young once too, James. I haven’t lost my hearing, however,” Dumbledore answered, laughing slightly. “Well, to start our tour, here’s the fireplace, and all the lovely Head’s Room furniture.”
Lily looked around excitedly. There was a chair upholstered in the colors of every house, but the two leather armchairs by the fireplace were done up in scarlet and gold to represent the two new Head Students. There were bookcases stuffed to the brim around the room, and Lily found she couldn’t wait to see what titles they held. Maybe this wouldn’t be so bad, after all.
Lily’s room was across from the fireplace, all the furniture a stunning cherry wood and the decorations shades of forest green or cream. Happily flopping on her bed, she heard Dumbledore pointing James to his room.
A few minutes later, during which Lily had further explored her own room, she heard something.
*creak* spring *creak* spring *creak* spring.
On and on the noise went. Finally, Lily got up from her bed to see what the insufferable sound was.
Standing in the doorway, Lily saw what the noise was. James Potter was jumping on his bed. Merlin, he was tall. It’s a miracle he hasn’t bumped his head yet, she thought with a laugh. She noticed that Dumbledore was sitting placidly in the corner, observing these events with a slight grin.
“Well, I really must get back to some business in my office. I’ll show you where the bathroom is on my way out then, shall I?” Dumbledore said softly, rising from his seat.
James finally stopped bouncing to follow.
“Here is the bathroom,” Dumbledore said, opening a door that led into one of the most magnificent bathrooms Lily had ever seen. “Your duties are all written out here,” he said, conjuring a list out of thin air and handing it to Lily. “The instructions as to how to perform each are written below the numbered tasks. You two will have a meeting with me to chart your progress in two weeks’ time, and I will keep you posted as to the exact date and time. Any questions for me before I go?”
Lily looked up from the parchment. “Where are we supposed to host the Prefect meetings at?”
“You can have them in the Great Hall, as always. Please notify me and Professor McGonagall in advance, however.”
Lily nodded. “One more question. When do we need to have the patrol schedule created by?”
Professor Dumbledore seemed to get slightly grave at her words. “As soon as possible. There has been far too much inter-house division for my liking. I fear that the hallways are no longer safe for delinquent students out of bed. We need to have patrol set up the very moment you are able to schedule it.”
James and Lily nodded, gulping slightly at the magnitude of his words. Hogwarts? No longer safe?
Authoress’ Note- I hope you liked this chapter…I know there wasn’t room for a whole lot of development in it, but we just had a lot of pesky start-of-term events to get through. Please review and let me know what you thought! ALSO, though I appreciated all the positive feedback from the last chapter and all the constructive criticisms from the last chapter, PLEASE DON’T REVIEW ONLY TO SAY THAT “IT’LL DO”.
I had one review like that and it has been driving me bonkers, because you didn’t tell me what would have made it better for you! How am I supposed to fix something I don’t understand?!
P.S. This update is dedicated to Faith Kingsley from ff.net, who actually p.m.’ed me in an attempt to get me to update! Well, it was successful, and I decided to get up early JUST so you could get a quicker update! Thank you for caring enough to harass me…it usually works!
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